Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced the launch of a defence policy review that will heavily draw from public consultations. Sajjan pointed out that this is the first public consultation of this magnitude in more than 20 years.
“The strategic security environment in which the Canadian Armed Forces operates has changed significantly. I look forward to hearing from Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, as they help inform the development of a modern defence policy that will support the CAF to effectively respond to a full spectrum of challenges – now, and into the future,” said Sajjan.
An advisory panel has been assembled to assist the Defence Minister in conducting the review. The panel consists of Louise Arbour, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and UN High Commissioner of Human Rights; former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bill Graham; former Minister of National Defence and Chief of the Defence Staff, Retired Gen. Raymond Henault; and former deputy secretary to the cabinet in the Privy Council Office and Associate Deputy Minister of National Defence, Margaret Purdy.
The government is conducting this policy review in an effort to be more transparent and Sajjan said to give Canadians a voice in the government when tackling various defence challenges.
The review will look at the role of the military, the tools they need, how they should be trained and what Canadians expect from their military stated Sajjan.
The policy review will centre around three major topics: the main challenges to Canada’s security, the role of the CAF in addressing these challenges and resource and capability requirements to carry out the CAF mandate.
Over the next few months, the Minister of Defence invites Canadians, academic experts, industry leaders, non-governmental organizations and parliamentarians to contribute to the discussion. The government has launched an online portal for Canadians to use to give feedback. A consultation paper has been developed to inform the public on the various topics.
Six roundtable discussions with various experts are scheduled across the country starting in Vancouver on April 27 and lasting until the end of July.
Parliamentarians have been asked to reach out to their constituents and Senate and House Committees on National Defence have been asked to study issues of relevance.
The Defence Minister will also be reaching out to international allies and partners.
“My goal is to establish a renewed vision for our military that will be nested in our foreign policy. A vision that is based in the understanding what the challenges and opportunities of an unpredictable security environment. A vision that allows the CAF to leverage their unique skills and expertise and a vision that gives are men and women the capability they need to succeed now and into the future,” said Sajjan.
When asked about how this review will translate into actual capabilities, considering CAF equipment, Sajjan said the government is still focused on procurement.
“The defence review is going to be the guiding principle in terms of performance. We are committed to replacing the CF 18 and we are committed to the national shipbuilding program to make sure our navy has the right capabilities. But the defence review is going to give us a career focus in making sure we have the right capabilities and core structure because it’s not just about having the necessary tools, how you employ them is just as critical,” noted Sajjan.
Canadians can visit this website to contribute to the discussion until July 31, 2016.